Fonterra serves as a lifeline and vital pillar of Maungaturoto’s local economy

Maungaturoto site reps receiving the Fonterra Best Site Cup for Productivity award 2023.

In the heart of the Maungaturoto region, Fonterra stands as a vital pillar of the local economy. The dairy co-operative has embedded itself into the fabric of the Maungaturoto community, making its operations the lifeblood of the region.

With a strong commitment to the well-being of its people, the environment and diversity in its workforce, Fonterra has woven an intricate web of benefits that extend far beyond the dairy factory gates. Site Operations Manager at Fonterra Maungaturoto Taryn Haslem emphasises the close-knit relationship between the factory and the local community.

“We make it our first point of call if we have vacancies to go out to our staff and ask if they know anyone interested along with advertising the role to the wider public. This means we ensure locals are made aware of the opportunities as well,” she says.

This approach has not only fostered a sense of togetherness but has also created valuable job opportunities for the community. The Maungaturoto site employs 118 individuals, and it’s not uncommon to find family members working together, she says.

Fonterra offers diverse career opportunities including support staff roles such as environment, health and safety, HR, food safety quality and process technology. Taryn says that entry-level positions can serve as a stepping-stone to exciting career paths within manufacturing operations.

“People can enter at the bottom level and work their way up to great career opportunities. With three different manufacturing plants on-site, specializing in whole milk powder, whey and casein, individuals have the chance to experience various processes and equipment, ultimately allowing them to move into supervisory and managerial roles.”

“All our plant managers at the moment have come up through the ranks. It’s been incredible for locals to have those opportunities to reach a senior management position. This commitment to nurturing local talent serves as a testament to the co-operative’s investment in its people and the wider community.”

Taryn says that diversity and inclusion are also high on Fonterra’s agenda. “The co-operative recognizes the value of having a workforce that reflects the community it serves. By embracing a diverse range of talents and perspectives, Fonterra is better positioned to tackle the challenges of the dairy industry while supporting and uplifting its community.”

The co-operative also extends its support to the Maungaturoto community through its Hapori initiative, which Taryn sits on the committee of, where community members can apply for funding in three key areas: strengthening the community, environmental initiatives and other social causes.

“Fonterra Maungaturoto has become more than a manufacturing site. It’s a lifeline for the Maungaturoto region, nurturing growth, prosperity and unity.”

In the past year alone, Fonterra Maungaturoto has contributed to approximately two dozen community initiatives in Northland. These initiatives include post-cyclone relief support, providing food packs to struggling families and supporting local sports teams with merchandise for hampers.

Additionally, Fonterra has been a driving force behind initiatives such as Surfing for Farmers, which focuses on improving farmers’ mental health, and the I Have a Dream mentorship program in schools, showing its dedication to fostering community well-being at every level.

Recognising that the co-operative is a consumer of water in its operations, responsible stewardship of the valuable resource is a priority for the well-being of the wider community, says Taryn.

The plant processes and reuses the water, ensuring minimal wastage and environmental impact. She highlights that this work is ongoing, including a recent study that has identified further potential process water to reclaim through various initiatives.

Taryn hopes that Fonterra’s operations in Maungaturoto serve as an example of how a large industry can become deeply intertwined with a small, rural community for the mutual benefit of both. “Fonterra Maungaturoto has become more than a manufacturing site,” she says. “It’s a lifeline for the Maungaturoto region, nurturing growth, prosperity and unity.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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